By A Correspondent- Voice of America (VOA)’s Studio 7 journalist based in Zimbabwe, Godwin Mangudya was at the weekend beaten by suspected Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Zanu PF activists while covering the party’s Central Committee elections.
He was also forced to erase pictures and videos of the event.
The incident happened in Kuwadzana suburb in Harare on Saturday.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) confirmed sad development and issued a statement condemning the unwarranted attack on the senior scribe.
“Zimbabwean senior journalist Godwin Mangudya was on 8 October 2022 reportedly assaulted by members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and ruling Zanu PF activists in the Harare suburb of Kuwadzana while covering the party’s Central Committee elections,” reads the statement.
“Mangudya alerted MISA Zimbabwe that he was assaulted by members of the ruling party and CIO despite formally identifying himself and producing his duly constitutionally-accredited Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) press card.
“He was detained for more than an hour, while the Zanu PF activists continuously agitated to further assault him.
“Members of the CIO and Zanu PF security personnel confiscated his mobile phones and reset the gadgets leading to the journalist losing both his personal and work-related information.
“The previous day, Mangudya, was among the journalists who attended a press briefing at the ZANU PF Headquarters in Harare, addressed by both the party’s spokesperson, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, and Political Commissar, Mike Bimha,” MISA said.
Zanu PF had earlier extended an invitation to members of the media to cover its activities countrywide.
Further reads the statement, “Meanwhile, during the entire ordeal, Mangudya requested the CIO and party activists to reach out to the party’s spokesperson and commissar for them to confirm that journalists had indeed been invited to cover the activities of the party, but that was all in vain.
“MISA Zimbabwe notes with very great concern the continued perpetration of violence against journalists by political party activists, security personnel, and members of the national security.
“This violence against journalists undertaking their constitutional mandate is an assault on the supreme law of the land as provided for under Section 61 of the Constitution which protects media freedom.
“Sadly, these unpunished crimes against journalists, come at a time when the entire world is commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists.
“We, therefore, call the on the police to conduct thorough investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
The media watchdog raised worry over the upsurge in the number of criminal attacks against journalists as Zimbabwe moves towards its elections next year.
“The role of journalists in covering political parties’ activities is to allow the public to access reliable information and make informed decisions and choices.
“MISA Zimbabwe calls on all stakeholders to unite and speak with one voice in calling for an end to these criminal acts against journalists and ensure that media workers are protected to perform their constitutionally guaranteed duties without fear and risk to their personal security.